Last night I got a phone call from a friend of mine. We were talking about the challenges in our lives and I confessed that I'm struggling with the college beginning Spanish class I'm taking. I'm struggling to keep up with the 18 year olds in the class, struggling with the hour plus of home work every single night.
She'd been sharing about some struggles related to a particular job opportunity, including that she'd decided against pursuing it because it would mean working some hours when her husband would be traveling for his business. Travel she always accompanies him on. Plus she wasn't willing to put in the classroom and study work the job was going to require.
I was surprised by her attitude because I know she and her husband are in serious financial straits and need the money she could bring. But I still encouraged her to find something she could do.
Her advice to me was a shocker. She started telling me that 55 year olds cannot possibly learn as easily or as swiftly as 18 year olds so I'd better be thinking about dropping the class and getting a refund before that deadline passes. She then went on to say any number of discouraging things about going to school as an mature adult.
The last time I had a friend try to run a number of me like that was something like fifteen years ago. That person just about complete derailed my life on many levels. For many months this friend, who is now deceased, tried to guilt me because I'd married out of college and not pursued my art career, like she had. She kept proclaiming what she'd done as 'true' and 'honorable' and 'artistic' and what myself and others had done by marrying and keeping our art only to a hobby as 'small-minded' and 'predictable' and 'waste of a life and education'.
I nearly bought it, I just about walked away from my marriage and my life because of all the guilt and condemnation she heaped me with. I could have stopped her, I could have told her how wrong she was, but I didn't. I allowed her jealousy to infect everything good about my life for about 18 months before I woke up and realized she was upset that I was leading the life she always wanted. Our friendship ended over it once I discovered that she was manipulating me in order to make herself feel better.
I don't think this friend is deliberately doing what the dead friend did. But I do think there's a measure of fear tinged maybe with a soupcon of jealousy. This person isn't very self-confident and has asked me before how I dare do some of the very things I love to do and doesn't seem to understand I do what I do because I want to do those things.
One thing is for sure. While the homework is long and arduous, and I'm not loving the classroom time I'm no quitter. I'm going to see this through to the end, pass or fail.